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Who exactly is George Dohrmann?

George Dohrmann has a reputation as a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer…he also has other reputations.



I’ll admit it, I didn’t do my homework.

When these stories started swirling it was easy to pick either the “Thayer Evans is a clown” or “George Dohrmann has a Pulitzer” camp. The issue we all had was “would Dohrmann pull Evans to his level or would Evans drag Dohrmann’s Pulitzer through the mud?”

Except that…well…maybe George Dohrmann isn’t as great as we thought he was.

Before the first story dropped on Tuesday I cited Dohrmann’s Ohio State story and UCLA story — neither of which were his Pulitzer-winning stories — as reasons he is “not to be effed with.”

Carson pointed me to two great posts about the UCLA stuff. First Deadspin wrote that he basically did with UCLA what, it appears, he’s doing with Oklahoma State. Here’s a look:

There’s no talk of on-court factors in what’s supposed to be an exploration of the Bruins’ mediocrity, a basketball story that features very little basketball. Instead we get the soap opera. Players drink, players use drugs, players don’t listen to their coach, star player’s a dick, coach is a bigger dick. That’s UCLA, and that’s a lot of teams, teams that win and teams that lose. Dohrmann desperately wants correlation to equal causation, but I’m not even sure there’s correlation here.

Also this:

It wants you to make the connection—even if it can never quite do so itself—that the undisciplined and troublesome recruiting classes brought in after the Bruins’ 2008 Final Four run were the catalyst for a program’s fall from the elite. Instead it’s an interesting but typical picture of a team with some issues, and if this weren’t Westwood, and wasn’t constantly being measured against the ghost of a program that hasn’t existed for nearly 40 years, it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.

Then one of the players Dohrmann wrote about sued him. It includes this jewel:

Nelson’s lawsuit categorically denies each reported incident and includes signed declarations from 18 current or former UCLA players corroborating Nelson’s side of the story.

Does that sound familiar? Deadspin has full documents of the suit here.

The case was later dismissed for the following reason:

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Ann Murphy agreed with attorneys for the media conglomerate and reporter George Dohrmann that the complaint concerning the story — “Not the UCLA Way” — that appeared in the magazine’s March 5 print edition, infringed on their clients’ right to free speech. She also found that Dohrmann had numerous sources to back up the facts in his story.

But that’s not all.

Dohrmann worked on the Ohio State story surrounding Tat-gate and Jim Tressel’s firing.

According to Business Insider that story didn’t have a smoking gun either.

The story does not contain a smoking gun, but rather provides a mountain of evidence that contradicts Tressel’s claim of ignorance about the actions of his players, which included trading memorabila for tattoos and receiving discounts on cars from a local dealership.

This incredible piece on 11 Warriors calls into question the originality of the evidence.

The violations “uncovered” by Dohrmann and his writing partner David Epstein were hardly new to anybody. Troy Smith taking money from a booster.  Youngstown State stories that had been reported for years. The “Ohio State as an SEC school” narrative.  Stories that people with televisions in 2005 already knew.

It was an investigation that could have been done entirely with Google. Everyone who read it, including me, was anticipating a bombshell revelation that never came, in part because of how Dohrmann himself promoted his piece. It seemed as though the title of the “expose” was written before the work on the article was.

Anybody care to take away the “t” in “tOSU” and move the narrative forward to September 2013?

11 Warriors continues…

The rest of the story was prose to fill in the spaces with the story of the coaching fraud who did anything, no matter how dirty, to win. This was the part of the story that Dohrmann obviously constructed before he arrived in Columbus, and it’s what makes his “meat” look so rancid.

For Dohrmann, pursuing this story probably wasn’t about an agenda against Ohio State or Tressel. It was about George Dohrmann. Winning a Pulitzer Prize made him somewhat of an elephant hunter. Everything from the decision to write the story to the story itself is about Dohrmann’s narcissism. Just ask him.



The NCAA’s burden of proof is significantly higher than Dohrmann’s was for this story. The NCAA needs facts to create a Notice of Allegations. They need evidence. Dohrmann’s burden of proof was simply to avoid getting Sports Illustrated sued.

Of course all of this means nothing regarding the fact of what actually happened in Stillwater between 2000 and 2011. I just thought you’d like to know a little bit more about the man who’s trying to bury your football program (or at least I think that’s what he’s trying to do).

You should go read the 11 Warriors post — it’s so good and detailed and well-written.

Also, Nolan brought up a good point — how many people, exactly, did Dohrmann talk to throughout this process? We know Thayer has talked to the entire state of Oklahoma (except, maybe, Tatum Bell) but why hasn’t anyone said they talked to Dohrmann?

h/t Carson Cunningham and whoever sent me the 11 Warriors post I’ve had open on my browser for three days.

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